10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry

For an industry full of experts, there's a lot of learning to be done.

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If you've had the misfortune of reading any of my other WhatCulture articles, you may have already stumbled across a piece of mine outlining some of the things I've learned whilst working in the games industry.

Yet, as we're all students until the day we die, those notable things tend to change as time passes.

I've now worked in the industry for close to sixteen years, which still astounds me to think about - how is it possible to have worked on so many projects, and still feel like I'm playing catch-up with my peers?

And yet, when I look at the breadth of work, at the number of different games we've all created, and the things we've achieved, it's difficult to think of that time as wasted.

I'm learning new techniques, systems and mantras every day - but for now, let's take a look at an updated and refreshed list of some of the things I've learned from working in the gaming industry.

10. If Gaming Is Your Only Hobby, You're A Worse Developer

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It's not to say developers can't love playing games, or play them often, or even to spend a great deal of time researching them. But if it's all they do, nine times out of ten, those individuals have a very blinkered sense of creativity.

And we've heard all the remarks - "go touch grass", or "how's that basement stank?" - there's still a bit of a preconception that we all wear faded Doom 3 T-shirts and stack body odour debuff radius like we're training for a spicy body contest. But most of us have fairly broad interests, and we're better off for it.

One of my ex-colleagues who worked in animation was a keen ice skater, and she surprised everyone by being the only one immediately able to animate a very odd-looking character which - you guessed it - slid across the ground as if on skis. Writers tend to watch a lot of movies, read a lot of comic books, and poetry. In my experience, character artists tend to body-build quite a bit (one told me he was fed up creating all these dudes with abs - now he uses his own body as reference).

Inspiration can come from many places, and if you spend all of your time inside the box, you might never know you were ever in one.


Hiya, you lot! I'm Tommy, a 38-year-old game developer from Scotland - I live in a caravan on the beach. I've worked on Need for Speed, Cake Bash, Tom Clancy's The Division, Driver San Francisco, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise, Kameo 2 and much more. I enjoy a pun and, of course, suffer fools gladly! Join me on Twitter at @TotoMimoTweets for more opinion diarrhoea.